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Extended Audio Sample The Light of the World: A Memoir, by Elizabeth Alexander Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Elizabeth Alexander Narrator: Elizabeth Alexander Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander comes a deeply resonant memoir for anyone who has loved and lost.

In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Reflecting with gratitude on the exquisite beauty of her married life that was, grappling with the resulting void, and finding solace in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander channels her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose that universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.

The Light of the World is both an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares about what matters most, The Light of the World is required listening.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Alexander explores tensions inherent in gender and race and expresses the ambivalence of motherhood in jazz-inflected tones.”


  • “She shows us how feeding your family and remembering to be aware of the small details of everyday life are the bedrocks of true connection. In this book of prose, each page is a poem.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “Alexander discovers a warmth that will remind some readers of the deeper truth of grieving: It is a sign of love.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • "[A] gorgeous and intimate tribute.”


  • “A deeply intimate and lyrical portrait.”


  • “Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir of her marriage and the sudden death of her husband is by turns sorrowful and joyful, earthy and elegiac, deeply personal and achingly universal…palpable on every mellifluous page…Alexander here faces the unfaceable topic of loss—and almost convinces us and herself—that despite her terrible grief, she is grateful for the life and love that preceded it.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “A radiant book of love’s everlastingness and art’s infinite sustenance.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Elizabeth Alexander should be doubly proud of this audiobook. First, she’s written a deeply resonant, heartfelt, and engaging memoir that recounts the tragedy and aftermath of her husband’s untimely death…Second, Alexander should be proud because she is one of the few authors who also successfully narrate their own book. She has a sunny, vibrant voice that accentuates the good times she writes about, but she’s also able to moderate her tone for the most serious passages, making the story more nuanced and interesting. Alexander paces herself well, and she keeps our attention on her writing.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for April 2015
  • A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2015
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About the Author

Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry—including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American studies at Yale University.